The biggest play of the Super Bowl wasn't drawn up that way.
Victor Cruz was standing in the slot on his own 12-yard line with 3:46 left in the game and his New York Giants trailing 17-15. To Cruz's right was wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and on the near side was Mario Manningham. The play called for Cruz to run a 12-yard route from the slot, and then he'd break into the middle of the field.
It was a play that should have worked against a New England Patriots defense that was lined up in a two-high shell with two safeties on either side of the field. The ball was supposed to go to Cruz, who had a first-quarter touchdown catch and was the favored target of quarterback Eli Manning throughout the season.
Even though the call was for Cruz to be Manning's first read on the play, the pass never went his direction. Instead, the ball went to Manningham on the opposite side for a 38-yard clutch catch that has become one of the iconic moments in Super Bowl history.
"I saw the whole thing - as soon as I turned I saw the ball and tracked it and I saw his feet go down," Cruz told Yahoo! Sports. "He was supposed to come to my side, but I feel like Eli wanted to make a play, so he looked off the safety to the right and threw an absolutely perfect pass to Mario."
Cruz had perhaps the best view of the play as he turned during his route -- he immediately knew it was a catch given his vantage point. As if that wasn't enough, the way Manningham bounced up after being pushed out of bounds told Cruz that the Giants had made the play. He admitted that waiting for the officials to confirm the catch was an excruciating process.
When the Giants returned to their huddle with the first down, they sensed momentum was in their favor.Read More »from Cruz: Manningham’s Super catch wasn’t drawn up that way